Thu August 16, 2012
Movie Review: The Campaign
It might seem a pretty brave act to try to make a political satire reflecting our present political campaigns, since satire consists of exaggerating the ridiculous aspects of something and our present situation is hard to exaggerate. But writers Chris Henchy and Shawn Harwell and director Jay Roach, who directedGame Change and Recount and ought to know the situation, have managed to get an A- rating fromEntertainment Weekly with Campaign, which got a 2 ½ in the Eagle and would get less than that from me. It all depends on whether you find Will Ferrell hilarious when he misdirects an incredibly obscene phone call, Zach Galifianakis funny when he shoots his political opponent, and the line “When you’ve got the money, nothing is impossible” a new thought.
Campaign tries to score a few points with an election campaign with no legitimate issues, a lot of repetition of slogans and bumper stickers, character assassination, which is too often legitimate, and almost universal sleaziness. But it doesn’t have the courage of its own cynicism, treating Galifianakis’ character sentimentally, and it barely hints at any real issues, just enough to indicate that its creators were aware of what they aren’t dealing with. Except for parts of its treatment of Galifianakis’ character, I didn’t find much that was funny, though the opening emphasis on his trouble with push-and-pull doors had given me expectations. Oh…there is Jason Sudeikis’ attempt to mime the Lord’s Prayer, but the setup for that is too unbelievable even for the present political campaigns. And I resented the treatment of Galifianakis’ wife. In short, I think I’d rather watch the news than watch Campaign.